Paladins stand as one of the most iconic and extravagant figures in fantasy history, having a place in nigh every world created and in all them representing a mixture of ass kicking combined with a command over the power of the light and general holy abilities to make enemies wilt before them whilst simultaneously aiding their allies. World
of Warcraft is no different.
However this time around paladins have taken a somewhat unique road, what with the utilization
of seals, blessings, and aura’s to bring utility
to almost any situation whether it be PvP or PvE, all while remaining capable of becoming
a frontline fighter, a tank, or DPS.
Retribution paladins, the offensive variant of the Paladin class, have become increasingly viable candidates for raiding positions as well as taking spots on
arena teams where we were once seen as only healers. In fact, Paladins are now very common
in high ranking arena teams and Ret Pallies are feared in the Battlegrounds.
Holy Paladins have become very viable raid, tank, and PvP healers in addition to being able to provide their team with abilities that mitigate damage and otherwise offer support.
Finally the Protection Paladin has prospered the greatest,
finally taking a place alongside warriors and druids as a true possibility
for primary tank throughout the raiding dungeons and various instances
open to us.
All in all the Paladin class is in most cases at a state of great balance, being capable
of taking on almost any role with at least some degree of success, although this is enhanced
by actually possessing gear conducive to our desired path.
Mists of Pandaria shouldn't change any of this to any great degree, other than completely revamping the talent system (which it's doing across the board.)
Since the Paladin is such a versitile class it's hard to say which
race is "best." It really depends on what your game is. Humans might arguably be "the best," at least for PvP, with their escape ability allowing two DPS/Healing trinkets. Blood Elves have the useful Arcane Torrent and Tauren have War Stomp, neither of which will be much use if you're Holy.
Pandarens cannot become Paladins.
- Good with Jewelcrafting.
- Heal: This is a tiny heal compared to the others you already
have, so isn't as useful as it is for others. Still, it requires
no mana and no Holy Power, and is an instant cast.
- Increased chance to hit: a 1% increased chance to hit
doesn't sound like much, but is useful in raids and somewhat
in PvP. Since 4.0 this is a self-only ability.
- Resistance to Shadow Damage
- Stone Form: Nice against bleeds and, as such, is useful
for PvP, but very situational elsewhere. With 4.06 the Storm form
reduces damage by 10% for its duration.
- Increased crit chance with Guns: Pallies don't use no stinking guns. Useless.
- Resistance to Frost: Yawn.
- Treasure Finding: Ok, so you can detect chests and Barrels of Milk. Wow.
- Increased expertise with Maces: Nice enough, if you're
using maces. Expertise is an important stat for the end-game raids.
- May be the best Pally race for PvP.
- Increase Spirit: Is of some use to Holy Pallies
since they get 50% of Spirit based mana regen active while in combat,
via Meditation. Other flavors of Pally have no use for Spirit.
- Bonus to Rep gains: Nice if you intend to gain faction with any of the many factions
in the game. In the long run this may save you many hours of faction grinding.
- Increased Expertise with Swords/Maces: Of small use in all areas.
- Escape: Very nice for PvP, occasionally useful elsewhere.
- Good at Enchanting
- Arcane Torrent: Provides both an A
of E silence, very nice for PvP, occasionally useful elsewhere; and
with also regains a small amount of mana, occasionally
of small use. The Silence is also nice when tanking trash.
- Resistant to magical damage: Of small use against magic
throwing things in raids, not so much elsewhere.
- Best Horde Pally race, and likely the best tanks of either faction,
due to War Stomp and ithe increased health.
- War Stomp stuns nearby opponents - great for melee, not so much
- Increased Health - Always useful
- Hebalism skill and speed increased - The heal obtained from herbalism
also adds Haste, which is generally useful.
- Resistant to Nature damage
- Target of a wide variety of Man/Cow jokes.
Tradeskill wise many paladins choose to take up either Blacksmithing or Engineering combined
with Mining, I suggest
never attempting to combine Blacksmithing and Engineering onto a single character
unless you have massive amounts
of gold to burn
through. Mining will provide raw materials for either profession and greatly reduce
your costs. Still, you might want to consider waiting on the crafting skills
until you have a nice gold stash and/or are level 80+. They're very expensive.
Blacksmithing provides us similar benefits as to a Warrior,
weapons mostly, but there are some good armor sets at high level.
Engineering, on the other hand, has some very
nice tanking gear for paladins and lots of cool gadgets.
- Cooking - great for the buffs from certain foods, such as from this nice salmon dish.
- First Aid - obviously not essential, but nice every now and then when you just don't want to burn the mana.
- Any two of the gathering skills (mining, skinning, or herbalsim) either to fuel another profession or to make
Tradeskills for the min-max crowd (Raiding)
All of the tradeskills have certain self-only benefits, such
as the extra gem socket that Blacksmiths can add to gloves, bracers,
and belts. Blacksmithing and Jewelcrafting are a good combo (hope you're
rich.) You can make those nice self-only gems and socket two
more gems than the other guys.
Most of the professions have a self-only skill that will provide about
80 points of your best stat over the next best alternative. The Mists of Pandaria (MoP) specials will be much larger.
- Alchemy gives increased results to you from
potions & flasks that you create. For example, Flask of Titanic Strength gives you 380 Str and everyone else 300.
- Blacksmithing can put sockets on gloves, bracers,
and belts (but the belt socket is tradeable.) This allows socketing
of more useful gems and can give you two extra +50 Int or +50 Str
gems (and much nicer gems in Mists.)
- Enchanters can enchant their own rings with increased
spellpower or other stats. Enchanting both your own rings will give you
+80 total to your best stat and at least 320 in MoP.
- Engineers get
a "haste" for their gloves
and a nice cloak upgrade. Synapse Springs adds 480 to your best
stat for 10 seconds, with a 1 minute cooldown. This is great because it's an "on demand" item, not just a random proc.
been improved and it now offers Haste rating (about 240 points worth, 480 in MoP.)
- Leatherworkers get a fur lining which
adds more Int, Str, or Stam to your bracers than any enchant.
- Inscription has the best shoulder enchants, by
far. Not to mention the ability to create relics and off-hand items, as well as glyphs. (Note, Relics are going away in MoP.)
- Jewelcrafting makes some nice self-only gems (+67 Int/Str, 320 in MoP) that
are better than otherwise available.
- Mining adds 120 (480 in MoP) Stamina, which is great for tanks,
not so hot for DPS.
- Skinning provides 80 crit rating (320 in MoP,) which is not
only lower than the other ratings provided by other profs, but crit
also seems to be weaker (for you) than other stats (eg: haste, hit, etc.)
- Tailors get the Lightweave Embroidery which
offers a chance for a big Spellpower or Attack Power boost.
Paladin Specs & Leveling
Paladin mechanics partially changed in Cataclysm. You still use mana for
various things, but now have a Holy Power (HP) system in
addition to mana. HP works somewhat like the Rogue's Combo
that you build up to three HP points using abilities such as Crusader
Strike or Holy Shock and
then use those points to power another ability, such as Word of
Glory or Templar's
Verdict. The more points that you use to drive those abilities
the better the effect.
This section is only a brief overview of Paladin leveling, check out our Paladin Leveling Guide for more information. If you want something that will show you the fastest way from any level to the level cap (85, 90, or whatever) then look at Dugi's guide.
Unlike most other classes paladins actually possess multiple variations of leveling builds, each viable in an alternate manner and the end result leveling speed will likely be entirely dependent on personal skill and play style.
Currently one can gain XP through grinding, questing, dungeons, PvP and any combination of the above. Want to smash your way through everything? Go Retribution. Want to do lots of dungeons with little to no wait time? Holy Healing or Protection Tanking will do just fine.
Want to level as a pure "Care Bear" Holy Pally? Questing/grinding will be painful, but do the dungeons or group (Battlegrounds) PvP and your groups will love you and you'll level as quickly as anyone. Healers have very short wait times in dungeon finder Queues, the only problem is seeing the same dungeon a few times.
These are the abilities you get for choosing Holy (Mastery is trainable
at level 80:) Hover your mouse over the links for more detail, and up
to date numbers, on the abilities.
- Holy Shock: Blasts the target with Holy energy,
causing Holy damage to an enemy, or healing to an ally, and grants
a charge of Holy Power. 8% of base mana, 20-40 yd range, Instant
cast, 6 sec cooldown
Allows 50% of your mana regeneration from Spirit to continue while
- Walk in the Light Increases the effectiveness
of your healing spells by 15%.
Illuminated Healing: Your healing spells
also place an absorb shield on your target for 8% of the amount healed
lasting 6 sec. Each point of Mastery increases the absorb amount
by an addtional 1%.
Holy Paladin Leveling
Your damage is ... weak, and you're not going to be rounding up groups of things and killing them. Not in less than a week, anyway. But you're excellent at keeping your partner intact, allowing him to lay waste to everything. Questing is likely to be a bit on the dull/tedious side, but if your partner is a damage machine then you can move quickly.
Hop into the dungeon or battlegrounds queues, keep your group alive (and help the PvP group to win,) and you'll level as fast as anyone.
If you're questing then grab a warrior or rogue or a Ret Pally and keep them healthy while they kill everything in sight.
If you're dungeoning then you'll be in demand all the way from level 15 to the end-game raids. Adjust your talents and gear for the best healing.
If you're PvP leveling, which can be very fast if your side wins, then you will need to select talents and gear for more suvivability. Resilience is very important in PvP, for example, and useless elsewhere. Gearing for resilience will cost you some stat points.
See our Holy Paladin guide for more or our Pally leveling guide for tips.
the abilites that you will gain are:
Retribution Paladin Leveling
Verdict: A strike that consumes 1 to
3 points of Holy Power. Damage increases greatly as the
points used increase. Unlike a Rogue's Combo Points the Holy
Power stays with you, not on your opponent, allowing you to
gain HP from opponent #1 and use it on #2.
- Shealth of
light: Increases your spell power by
30% of your attack power and increases your chance to hit with spells
- Two Handed
Weapon Specialzation: Increases the
damge done with your 2-hander by 20%
of the Bold: Your judgement
restores 25% of base mana over 10 seconds.
- Mastery: Hand of Light (trainable at level 80:)
Your Templar's Verdict, Divine Storm, and Crusader's
Strike abilities deal additional damage as Holy Damage. Increasing
Mastery rating increases the amount of bonus damage.
Retribution paladins can either be a lot of fun or really boring, it’s all in the eye of the beholder, quite honestly. I loved retribution almost as much as protection, but it was more the fact that I macro’ed the entirety of one-fight's spell casting and attacks into one key, this freed up my time for watching football while I mindlessly killed things. (You can no longer do this due to macro changes.)
Another thing is that retribution can be much better for questing as opposed to protection, you’re generally better capable of selectively killing quest mobs for any given objective whereas protection shines when fighting ten at the same time.
Lastly, Retribution Paladins have little to no downtime while leveling due to heavy armor, heals, and the new instant heal Word of Glory.
See our Paladin Leveling guide for more on leveling and our Retribution guide for PvP and Rading.
The abilites that you will
Protection Paladin Leveling
- Avenger's Shield -
Hurls a holy shield at the enemy, silencing them, interrupting for
3 sec, and then jumping to additional nearby enemies. Affects 3 total
targets. 6% of base mana, 30 yd range, Instant cast, 15 sec cooldown
- Judgements of the Wise -
(Passive) Your Judgement grants you 30% of your base mana over
- Touched by the Light (Passive) - Increases your
total Stamina by 15%, increases your spell hit by 8%, and increases
your spell power by an amount equal to 60% of your Strength.
- Vengeance (Passive) - Each time
you take damage, you gain 5% of the damage taken as attack power, up
to a maximum of 10% of your health.
- Mastery: Divine Bulwark - Increases your chance
to block melee attacks. Each point of Mastery increases the block
This build endeavors to find an enjoyable method of combining our great AoE tanking capabilities with our stacking damage buffs, designed to slowly whittle down surrounding groups of monsters.
Retribution Aura, Avenger's Shield, Consecration, and other abilities come together to provide us immensely effective AoE capabilities. By itself none of the above would deal more than possibly a small amount of our overall damage, however when built up in unison they easily do enough to drop large group of mobs at once. The new Holy Power mechanic just makes this better as it's easy to gather enough Holy Power to be firing off regular (instant and mana free) Word of Glory spells.
Seal of Insight and Blessing of Might are also big helps towards becoming an A of E grinding machine.
Also see the Pally leveling info or, for more about tanking and such, see our Protection Paladin page.
Dugi will get you leveled faster
Paladin abilities are quite varied in their usage,
being separated into numerous categories such as seals, auras, blessings,
judgements, heals, etc. All in all we have more than a few methods
of buffing ourselves, injuring opposition, and aiding our teammates.
Auras will fluctuate between mediocre and "Not so Hot," especially
at 70+, but it’s never a bad idea to have one going anyway, generally
being at least a little better than nothing.
useful at all times, and your Blessings have been greatly changed
with 4.0. Now you start early with Blessings of Kings and
receive Blessing of Might (which
now affects mana, too) much latter. Both last for an hour and both
affect your entire
group or raid with one cast.
Seals play a large part in turning paladin DPS from good to better. Whether
you be a tank, healer, or DPS paladin, seals play a large part in maintain
mana, health, and consistent damage for some.
All in all, seal usage is but one crucial part of a paladins arsenal,
without proper judgements, blessings, and sometime even aura selection,
it won’t make a paladin great by itself.
at level 3,
Protection - Adds holy damage to single target attacks
of Insight, lev 32,
Holy - Each strike has a chance to restore some mana and some health.
Judging it restores more mana. This is a very nice seal to use while tanking.
of Truth, lev
44, Retribution - Each single target attack applies a DoT (Damage
over Time) effect to the target , which can stack.
of Justice, lev
Protection - Single target attacks deal additional holy damage and
limit the run speed of the target. (Esp. nice in PvP.)
Aura’s are much less difficult to select amongst when leveling, indeed you’ll likely be switching between either Retribution or Devotion, whichever you fancy more, for the majority of your levels. Retribution
is particularly useful for protection leveling.
Some specific auras can become very useful raid-wise, determining
the course of a fight where resistances might be crucial to a raids survival.
Aura, at level 5 - provides additional armor. Good for DPS
Aura, level 26 - Good for tanks, bad for DPS (aggro issues,)
good for PvP.
Aura, 42 - Your casters lose less casting time when assaulted.
62 - Great for chargibng across the battlegrounds with your band
of merry gankers.
76 - Adds fire, frost, and shadow resistance to all party/raid members.
Blessings are another aspect of the paladin class, allowing you to give teammates
and fellow raid members a large overtime increase to damage, mana regeneration,
or with BoK (Blessing of Kings) an overall increase to all statistics.
With 4.0 the Blessings have been completely overhauled. There are now only two
Blessings, both of which last an hour and buff the entire group or raid with
one cast. Blessing of Might now increases both attack power and mana
Before 4.0 Judgements were another key to effectively fighting,
leveling, defeating bosses, boosting raid DPS and health, and finally
renewing your own mana pool to maintain unstoppable killing. Almost
every judgement had some use at some point.
With 4.0 Judgements are pretty much just a ranged attack. Special
effects come from your Seals, but judging those seals only
does Holy damage. So now it's good for pulling mobs and adding some
extra damage, but it no longer delivers effects. You will need to spend
points in certain talents to increase the range of your judgement.
In the battlegrounds, prior to Cataclysm, anyway, one of the most
feared opponents is the well played Retribution Paldin. A
combination of high survivability and great burst damage put them at
the top of the "we
want you on our team" classes.
Holy Paladins can also do very well if the BG group is organized enough to let them heal effectively (hard to do when everyone is running amok and out for himself.) In the 3 and 5 person arena brackets, and Rated BGs, Holy Paladins are doing very well. The key, of course, is teamwork.
Protection Paladins are excellent guardians of flags and
bases. Already very hard to kill, when teamed with a healer they're
For more info on Pally PvP see our Holy Paladin and Retribution Paladin pages.
Looking for a PvP community, informational PvP articles and videos, plus a chance at personal
PvP training from experts? Want to face-roll the opposition? Check
Gear, gems, enchants, potions, repairs, toys, and various other things
can be expensive. If you have the cash, then great! Otherwise check
out our gold
Note: Relics are going away in Mists of Pandaria.
Gear, Stats, Numbers, Etc., At level 85:
- 8% Hit to be melee capped.This affects all of your melee attacks,
preventing them from missing. Crusader Strike, Templar's Verdict,
Judgement, and Hammer of Wrath all use the melee hit cap.
- At 85: This is 960 hit rating (840
rating as Draenei).
- Lev 80 hit cap is 246 (215 for Draenei).
- 17% Hit to be spellhit capped. Ret and Prot gain
8% spell hit as one of their core abilities, bringing it down to 9% to
cap. The only abilities that are affected by this are Exorcism, Holy
Wrath, and Consecration.
- Lev 85: 1128 Spell hit rating (1025 rating as a Draenei) to
- Lev 80 Spellhit Cap is 289 (263 for Draenei).
- Expertise @ Lev 85 - 781 expertise rating (26 expertise) to prevent
all boss dodge.
Autoattacks, Crusader Strike, Templar's Verdict, and Judgement
are all considered melee attacks, using Melee Hit and Crit %. Other
than Judgement they are susceptible to parry and dodge. Judgement
cannot be dodged, parried, or blocked, though it can miss.
of Wrath is ranged Holy damage, but behaves like many Hunter attacks
in that it uses Melee Hit and Crit %.
The exact value of your stats depends on your gear, your level, and
the various buffs provided by your group and the debuffs on the opposition.
More specific details are provided on the build pages: Protection
retribution spec, holy
- Strength -
This is the most important stat for Protection and Retribution Paladins.
It remains the primary (and so
far only) source of raw AP for all Paladins.
- For Retribution Str is far and away the most important stat
- Ditto for Protection, but Stamina is also important.
- Intelligence - This is the most important stat for
Holy Paladins. It adds more mana, mana-regen, spellpower and spell
crit and can be enhanced via gear, gems, and enchants.
- Retribution and Protection have little need for brains.
- Spirit - For Holy Pallies Spirit is without a
doubt the most important secondary stat. In the new
healing model healer mana matters and regen is the most important
consideration for a tank healer
- Retribution and Protection have no use for Spirit.
- Stamina -
There are no significant changes for Protection Paladins regarding this stat;
however note that Vengeance is
regulated by maximum health. Up to 10% of your Maximum Health as Attack
power. Obviously Tauren Pallies will have an slight edge here.
- Tanking and PvP obviously require a lot more than otherwise.
- Holy, outside of PvP, needs no additional Stam.
- Agility - No longer provide armor like
before. It continues to provide a small amount of dodge
- It's not woth sacrificing other stats to get agility.
- Dodge Rating -
Very important for tanks, not so much for others. Share a Diminishing Returns feature with Parry.
- Parry Rating - Parry
Rating will be gained from STR as well as items. According to Blizzard
parry "provides the same avoidance as Dodge." Again, Very important for tanks, not so much for others
- Hit Rating -
As usual hit rating is necessary in order to actually hit the stuff
you will be tanking (no damage, no threat). The vast majority of Protection
Paladin abilities are based of the melee hit table not the spell
- Protection: Touched by the Light increases Spellhit
by 8%, so no special effort need to be made to hit the spellhit
cap. Vengence provides enought threat that maxing hit
- Retribution: Go for the 8% melee cap
- Holy: Not an important stat is all you're doing is healing.
- Protection: Very important as it goes directly to your blocking.
- Holy: Not so hot, many heals are unaffected by this Mastery
- Retribution: Medium importance
- Haste - decreases cooldown times, decreases the
time between DoT ticks and might add an addition tick at high ratings.
- Holy: This is the best stat for increasing healing output.
- Retribution - The worst stat, get rid of it
- Protection: Not needed for threat or blocking, so not important.
- Expertise: This stat reduces your opponent's chance
to dodge, block, or parry your attacks.
- Retribution: Cap this stat (26 points)
- Protection: Consider Capping this stat (26 points)
- Holy: Not at all important
Gems and Enchants and Reforging
There are more details on the build pages: The exact value of your
stats depends on your gear, your level, and the various buffs provided
by your group and the debuffs on the opposition. More specific details
are provided on the build pages: Protection, Retribution PvP or DPS , Holy healing or PvP.
- Survivalist: Use gear, Gems, and Enchants to maximize your Mastery,
Dodge, and Parry. Reforge Haste and Crit into Mastery. This will make
life easier for your healers and Vengence will allow you
to generate enough threat. Reforge crit & Haste into Mastery
- More Threat: Cap Hit and Expertise first, Gems for Str,
then go for Mastery.
- Gem for Strength only.
- Enchant for Strength where possible, then hit/expertise > Mastery
when Str enchants aren't available.
- Reforge Haste, then Crit into Hit > Expertise > Mastery
- Gem for Int, but if you need two yellows for a meta gem then go
for two int/haste combo gems, or two resilience gems if you PvP.
- Enchant priority is the same, go for Haste when Int isn't available.
- Reforge into Haste
Leveling - stick to the cheap stuff. You'll be out
of that gear soon enough. If you have lots
of gold then feel free to
buy the best gems & enchants available.
Leveling Your Paladin Faster
As you know there are thousands of quests in WoW (and a few
zillion monsters) that await your wrath. It's keeping track of
all those quests and their details (maybe looking them up on
some website) that can become a drag. The in-game quest
helper is a big help, but even that doesn't show you the most
efficient path to take, especially when you might be dungeoning or PvPing in between quests.
The question of Where to go and What to do never
arises since we've been using Dugi's
Guide. Dugi's almost automates the whole leveling process
for your Pally (or any class that you're playing.) Not by playing the game for you,
but by keeping track of everything, including all the info you
need to complete each quest, and by automatically updating as
It even updates if you gain a few levels PvPing or dungeoning.
Enter the guide at any level, PvP for a few levels, do some dungoens,
come back and Dugi's will detect your new level, update appropriately,
and clean up your old quests.
Pick your starting point (whether you're level 1 or 67) and
the guide automatically updates and advances as you complete
quests, tracks your objectives, automatically sets a waypoint
arrow, and includes the important quest info. You will never
again wonder where to go or what to do, even if you're brand new to WoW or decked head to toe in Heirlooms.
Dugi's is always updated for the latest patches and expansions. Grab
yours here, now and cruise to the level cap faster than ever before.